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Donnie Walsh thinks Knicks have the core of a title team

Sep 23, 2011, 10:37 AM EDT

Donnie Walsh

The last time the New York Knicks were NBA champions, George Steinbrenner had just purchased the Yankees for $10 million, the World Trade Center towers opened in New York and Elvis Presley was doing a live concert from Hawaii. So it’s been a while.

But former GM and now team consultant — meaning they paid him to go away — Donnie Walsh thinks they’re close to another one. He says the core is there.

That is what he told Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“We have a core of players we can build around to build a [championship-contending] team,” Walsh said. “We’re not finished. There’s more pieces. But I think we got some really good players that can lead a team and form a core of that team. What we have are the most important things.”

They have some offensive firepower in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, that is for sure. They have the star power. But do they really have a team that can defend well enough to put them in the title conversation? They need some quality role players for that, but Walsh said he thinks bringing in assistant coach Mike Woodson will help.

“I think Mike will be good for Mike D’Antoni,” Walsh said. “I’ve heard good things about [Woodson] as a coach and guy. It’ll help them. It’s always good to have a guy come in from a different perspective. I know his mentors, Bobby Knight and Larry Brown, and [Woodson] can offer them [defensive] systems that will be good for them. I also think they may have better defensive personnel. Let’s hope so.”

I’m not sure what personnel Walsh is referring to, but it’s not Carmelo.

How the Knicks build around that core, and what they decide to do with Chauncey Billups in the last year of his contract will be fascinating. Especially in the condensed free agency frenzy that will follow the lockout. They do have a core, but the bigger question becomes is there core as good as the one in Miami? Or Chicago?

  1. cakemixa - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Of course they do. They’re the Knicks.

  2. rajbais - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Even though they got rid of their bench for LaLa’s husband and have a head coach that is allergic to defense!!!

  3. rajbais - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Even though they got rid of their bench for LaLa’s husband and have a head coach that is allergic to defense!!!

  4. leearmon - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    For a team that hasn’t won in “awhile” there sure does seem to be a lot of posts about them.. In any event, the Mavericks just won their first title ever with their star playing defense worse than Carmelo. Yet this site rarely (if ever) criticizes Nowitzki’s poor defense. Im sure once the season begins the Thunder will be many “experts” pick to reach championship levels, although Durant’s defense leaves much to be desired. And last year’s darlings from Chicago who preached nothing but defense still lost in a relatively quick series, not because of their defense, but because they couldnt score. All in all you joke at the defensive potential of the Knicks, but when they draft one of the better defenders in college last year, instead of writing an article of that, you show a Youtube clip of him dunking in Vegas. Thats great editorial judgement Kurt. Also with a supporting cast of Fields, (who Im sure you had no idea who he was around this time last year) Williams, Turiaf, Carter. In addition to the impressive numbers Jerome Jordan put up last year overseas. The core isnt as big of a joke as you make it out to be.

    • cosanostra71 - Sep 24, 2011 at 1:17 AM

      Dallas may not be a defensive stalwart but they let up nearly 10 less PPG than the Knicks, and did it by making their opponents shoot just over 2% worse than the Knicks did. While Dirk is not a great defensive player by any means, the Mavericks as a whole play good team defense. If you need evidence, just watch the Lakers series (I’ll pass though, once was enough for me as far as watching that series is concerned). The Knicks do not play good team defense. It’s hard to argue that they aren’t one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

    • knicksnyny100 - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:44 AM

      If u put both the Knicks and heat big three together,the heat have a slight edge but after that what do the heat have more than the Knicks?the Knicks have one of the NBA’s best 3 point shooters in Shawne Williams,the rookie of the year runner up in Landry Fields,a possible star in Toney Douglas,Jerome Jordan one of the best young Centers in the NBA,and the rookie of the year in Iman Shummpert, andTuriaf,Derrick Brown,Big Jorts,Roger Mason are quality role playerse,and we have cap space to add more!!! forget the haters,I can’t wait for the season to start NYK4LIFE

  5. trbowman - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    He overrates Chucker Anthony.

    • MTArider - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

      You clearly underrate one of the best offensive players in the NBA in his prime.

  6. MTArider - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    By the way Kurt, Carmelo showed he could play fairly well defensively once he left Denver and came to New York. He’ll never be a stopper but he’s much better defensively than you or any of the so called experts make him out to be.

  7. dysraw1 - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    with stat possibly starting the season slowly because of his back problems. Also the lack of a real 2 guard id say we got our work cut out for us

  8. jimeejohnson - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    The Knicks just don’t have what it takes. No depth. No defense. No title.

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